Did you know you could be susceptible to skin cancer every day you spend time in the sun without sunblock?
What is Skin Cancer?
It is the abnormal growth of skin cells and it most often develops on skin exposed to the sun.
- Actinic Keratosis (Solar Keratosis)
These are small scaly patches usually found on the neck, head, or hands. These are commonly found on fair-skinned, blond, or red-haired people with blue or green eyes. These can be an early warning sign of skin cancer, but it does not guarantee someone has cancer.
- Cutaneous Horns
They are composed of compacted keratin and they are a specialized type of actinic keratosis. They appear as growth that extends from the skin.
- Dysplastic Nevi (Atypical Moles)
Moles are not always cancerous, but they can become cancerous. Moles may be flat or raised and come in a variety of colors including red, tan, and brown.
The A,B,C,D,E's of Moles:
- A= Asymmetric
Moles are normal symmetric; therefore, asymmetric moles should be checked by a dermatologist.
- B = Border
Ragged, blurred, or irregular borders around a mole should be checked by a dermatologist.
- C = Color
Irregular or changing color could cause some suspicion.
- D = Diameter
If a mole is growing in size, you should contact your doctor.
- E = Evolving
If a mole is shrinking, growing larger, changing color, begins to itch or bleed, it should be checked out immediately.
Although skin cancer is very dangerous, there are some benefits to spending time in the sun. The sun provides our body with much-needed vitamin D. Vitamin D helps regulate calcium levels and helps bones stay strong. Being deficient in this vitamin can cause muscle weakness, muscle aches, and pain. Being deficient can also cause less calcium to absorb, which leads to slower bone growth and bone softening. It increases the risk of fractures and osteoporosis in the long run.
There has to be a healthy balance between getting enough sun exposure and preventing long-term skin damage. Sunscreen is meant to protect our bodies from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Sunblock protection levels are determined by the SPF they provide. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. Using sunblock can help us reduce the number of sunburns we get while also allowing our bodies to absorb an adequate amount of vitamin D that the sun provides us.